My Thoughts. . .
In John 9:1-34 the apostle tells about a blind man that Jesus healed. Several of life’s problems are covered in this story.
Who Sinned? The man has been blind since birth. Jesus’ followers asked a question, “Who sinned, this person or his parents, to cause him to be born blind?” That question, in different forms, is still asked today.
Some believe if tragedy hits them or a loved one, it was caused by the individual or a family member’s sin. There is some truth to that view. However, not in the way it was asked of Jesus. If a person drives while drunk and kills or injures innocent people, he can spend 3-4 years in prison. God may use the tragedy to teach different lessons to those involved, but he did not cause the vehicular homicide because the man was drunk (v.9). Jesus’ reply is, “This person did not sin; his parents did not sin” (V.3). Why was this man born blind? We may not know the “why,” but we can know it was not due to any sin he or his parents committed.
I Am the One! Jesus heals the man (v.7). Imagine what it would be like if you were able to see things which you had formerly recognized only by touch or sound. Would you recognize family or friends without hearing them speak? Would you know if a ball of twine sitting next to an apple or orange was eatable? Would your attitude be, “Hmm, how about that, I can see” or “WOW! I CAN SEE!”? Would family try to calm you down because your running might cause harm to a blind person? If people were confused, not knowing if this was you or some look alike, wouldn’t you shout out, “I am he!” (V.9)?
This man did not know who Jesus was. When asked who did this his reply was, “A man called Jesus.” The healed man would have been speaking Hebrew and “Jesus” in that language is “Joshua.” He finished his sentence by saying, “A man called Jesus made some mud and rubbed it on my eyes.” If you were one of this man’s friends, wouldn’t your reply be, “You let a man spit on some dirt, work it into mud and apply it to your eyelids? You must think I’m an idiot to believe that?” They wanted to know where this “Joshua” was? The man did not know. Isn’t it amazing how in our joy we can forget who is responsible for giving it? That is, until someone says, “Let’s pray and thank God.” Too often we include ourselves with the 9 of Luke 17:17.
Inquisitive Conservatives. As smart and conservative as the Pharisee were, they posed the same questions. How had he received his sight? The blind man told about the mud salve. Whether the Pharisees were able to understand that “Joshua” in Hebrew is the same as “Jesus” in Greek, they weren’t confused about condemning anyone who supposedly broke the Sabbath. Rejoicing because the man could see was not important. This “Jesus” healed him on the Sabbath! If you had asked, they would have informed you that this Jesus had committed the unpardonable sin! This Jesus fellow is godless because in their way of thinking, he “keeps not the Sabbath.” Therefore, he could not perform miracles since he was a sinner (v.16). In their circular logic, if Jesus gave sight to a blind man on the Sabbath, he was a sinner. If he was a sinner, he would not be capable of restoring sight to anyone, Sabbath or not. Man’s logic usually takes precedent over God’s truth! It did as far as these conservative Bible teachers were concerned.
The blind man’s parents were questioned next. If they replied incorrectly, they would be kicked out of the synagogue. Restricted from the synagogue meant being expelled from the Temple and its courtyards. Losing one’s membership in either was like being arrested and exiled from family, friends, and neighbors because you contracted the deadly Ebola virus. The parents’ way out was to send them back to their adult son for questioning (v,21).
When they questioned the son again and he gave them the same answers, they insulted him by saying, “You are Jesus’ follower. We are Moses’ followers! We know that God has spoken to Moses. But we don’t know where this Jesus comes from.” (V.29). Their logic kicked in again. “We know our Bible. You and Jesus do not.” Then they added insult to injury by saying, “‘You were totally born in sin; you cannot teach us!’ And they threw him out.” (V.34). The BBE translation states, “They put him out of the Synagogue.” They switched back to the man being a sinner because he was born blind! Even if a statement is a lie, if it is believed to be truth, you may use it to put someone down as a liar. So, they did!
Jesus Finds. “Jesus heard that the Jewish leaders had thrown the man out. Jesus found him” (v.35). Jesus’ question to him was, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The poor fellow did not know the answer. Jesus told him that he had seen him and was speaking to him (v.37). With that short dialogue the man’s reply was, “‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Jesus.” (V.38). Some today would give him a green light on his worship because Jesus was present before him in the flesh. They would even give a green light after Jesus returned to heaven, if you prayed, talking through him to the Father. However, if you talked directly to Jesus, you would be praying. If you were praying, you would be speaking without divine authority! You are lumped in with the blind man. You are a sinner!
Conclusion. John begins with Jesus’ followers asking, “Who sinned” and ending with “Lord, I believe’ and he worshiped Jesus.” When blindness exists, Jesus was the blind man’s solution with, “Lord, I believe.” If your logic is like the Pharisees, you would tell the blind man that it is better to remain blind than to worship Jesus.
Jesus paid my sin debt! Thank you, Jesus!